I’m Dr. David Bissell. I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Sociology at The Australian National University.
Over the past decade I’ve been doing research on how our experiences of travel shape our sense of self and belonging. I have been especially interested in how travel transforms who we are, our interpersonal relationships, our relationships with cities, and the wider world. The dazedness that comes from jet-lag and the exhaustion that comes from a long train journey both remind us that our bodies change through the travels that we do. But more mundane things like the frustration of waiting for a delayed train, or the discomfort that comes from sitting on a hard seat can change our relationship to places and times in more subtle ways, changing our attachments, our desires, our aspirations, and our habits. Because we live in a time where many people are travelling much more frequently, and often over longer distances than ever before, it is really important that we find out about how this impacts on people and places.
My research has always involved doing fieldwork to make new discoveries about how our world is changing. My research on train travel, for example, involved doing over 40 interviews with passengers to find out about their experiences. My fieldwork experience has also benefitted from teaching on university field trips, and teaching courses in sociology and geography on research methods. At the Australian National University I use my research skills to teach undergraduate courses on ‘Mobile Societies’ and ‘Qualitative Research Methods’. I also currently supervise PhD students who are working on exciting projects relating to travel and transformation.
My research has been published in many academic journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and Theory and Event. I am also the co-editor of two books Stillness in a Mobile World (2011) and the Routledge Handbook of Mobilities (2014). I am on the editorial board of the journal Mobilities. For a full list of publications, please visit my university webpage.